I’ve stopped letting my body rule my life… And you can too 136



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I’ve always been a bigger girl, and loving your body as it ages ain’t always easy. However, at age 60 I’ve finally reached some self-acceptance, and think you can too…

When I was a little tyke, carrying extra kilos didn’t really bother me. In fact, I never even though of myself as fat. My mum was Scottish and loved to bake, so she was unapologetically “bigger” too.

Mum made the best made Dundee cakes, potato scones and crumpets. My dad used to joke that there was “more of Mum to love”, so being fat wasn’t really something I saw as “bad”.

When I started school, everything changed though. I became the “fat kid”, and it didn’t really help that my first name started with an F.

Fat Fiona* was just too easy for other students to target me with. They were relentless and cruel in their taunts, calling me a “pig in plaits” amongst other horrible things, which stick with me today.

For the first time, I became ashamed of my body. I wouldn’t let Mum braid my hair, and I stopped taking her baked treats to school.

By the time I was sixteen, the situation was much worse. Puberty had set in, and with it came my “Scottish bosom” as Mum called it.

Boys didn’t seem interested in me though. I was round, with red hair and freckles. I had also become incredibly shy and resisted going out to dances, parties or school events.

When my Year 10 Graduation rolled around, I decided to stay home instead. Finding a dress had been too stressful, and I was mortified about being the “big girl” on such a special occasion.

Staying home that night broke my heart. I felt like everyone else in the world was “worthy” of attention and praise, except me. I’ve never felt so ashamed of myself, just for being who I am.

During my twenties and thirties, I tried every diet under the sun. I embraced Weight Watchers when it came to Australia, did the Grapefruit Diet, and even restricted myself to 1,000 calories each day.

Fortunately, I was blessed enough to marry a caring man named Bruce*, who thought my red hair and freckles were beautiful. Child-rearing helped shed the kilos too, whilst I ran around after my daughter Aileen*.

Even then though, I let my body stop me from “getting social”. When Bruce and Aileen went to the beach, I sadly sat on the sand in a long kaftan. I didn’t like dressing up for Bruce’s work dos, and always felt nervous if I had to attend some type of “event”.

When Aileen wanted to go shopping, I asked her auntie to take her instead. As Aileen’s own Year 10 Graduation came up, the event brought back painful memories for me.

Thankfully, Aileen’s night was fun-filled and she looked beautiful in a green gown with black court shoes. Even so, the way I felt towards my own body was dreadful and self-loathsome.

Looking back now, I realise that my 20s, 30s, 40s and even 50s were actually the best time for my body.

Even though I was “fat”, my body could move freely, my eyes were strong and my health wasn’t bad. I’d spent decades worrying about how I look – how foolish that seems now!

I could have embraced so many more experiences, if I hadn’t let self-consciousness get in the way. On my 60th birthday though, everything changed for the better.

“We’re throwing you a party, Mum”, Aileen insisted. “Let’s make it Paris themed, and we can all dress up! I can help you choose an outfit, you won’t need to worry”.

Easier said than done, though. Straight away, my stomach had filled with dread about the idea of dressing up, being seen in public, or feeling judged.

Despite my protests, Aileen took me to a store which specialised in plus-sized designs. In spite of myself, we found a beautiful, long, glittering black dress.

Bruce bought me a gorgeous necklace with a tiny Eiffel Tower charm on it. Before I knew it, my sixtieth birthday party came around… and I was terrified!

Waiting to go outside and greet my small collection of friends and family, I felt sick with nerves. My gown was too “much”, I looked ridiculous in heels, I should have put my hair up – or so I felt.

“You look beautiful, Fi!” my friends told me. “It’s so nice to see you all dressed up”, my cousin approved. Bruce was the most impressed – he kept introducing me as “the beautiful birthday girl”.

Even though I hadn’t lost any weight, I suddenly felt better about myself. That night, I danced with my friends, sipped some sparkly and even let Aileen take a couple photos.

The next day, I realised that I’d actually had fun. I hadn’t let my body stop me from getting “out there”. The support of my husband and daughter had brought me “out of my shell”.

I’m now over 60, and I want to share this special message with you: Life is too short to feel “trapped” by your own body. We are all our own worst critics.

To hell with feeling “less than” other people, and diets can be damned! Just move your body, eat well and don’t worry so much. Life is meant to be lived, in the beautiful body that God gave you.

We’ll always regret the things we didn’t do, rather than those things we did. Don’t let your body hold you back, your 60s are meant to be enjoyed… Trust me!

Have you ever let your body perception stop you from doing something fun? Can you relate to this woman’s raw and honest story?

*Names changed to protect privacy.


Guest Contributor

  1. A woman who is overweight can still look and feel beautiful however she can also still look damn terrific in her 70s while maintaining a healthy diet and daily exercise. The 50’s is the new 30s and the 60s is the new 40s if she looks after herself.

    3 REPLY
    • never thought about then but when you had a husband like mine who cook and bake all the naughty foods WELL what else can you do but eat the beautiful food that he made needless to say that I put on weight now he hassle passed nearly 2 years I have lost weight was 16 stone now 89kg I eat healthy and go swimming 5 days a week aquatic arobics 3 days never felt so good play bowls and coach students for lawn bowls three days a week and I’m 74 years love my life now

  2. Yes I love exercise, but lately the body is catching up with the age, I eat properly but the exercise lets me down. It’s easy to say a woman can do these things but some times no matter how hard she wants to she can’t

    6 REPLY
    • I can’t exercise have neoperthy in my feet from chemo can’t walk properly and have no strength in my legs they just give way when ever they feel like it .i fell last week and broke my leg so have to be very careful. I am now classed disabled so it’s not easy to exercise anywhere.

    • Glynis I am sorry to hear about your problems. Have you spoken to a physio and discussed your issues with them. A good physio should be able to design a program for you with exercises you can do while sitting. One physio I knew used to take a gentle exercise class in an aged care facility. The class became very popular with most of the residents.

  3. Thank you for your story and agree with every thing you say. It’s not til we get past 60 , that we don’t give a dam about what others think, about our looks, and get out there and enjoy !!!!Life is for the Living.!!!!!!

  4. What a great article. I think carrying some extra weight in your sixties and seventies is good especially if you still feel well. I have seen people our age get suddenly quite sick and then lose a lot of weight quickly. With that little bit extra they recover more quickly.

  5. If you don’t care how you look when you are overweight ,please think of your health. ,– very unhealthy to be so big

    4 REPLY
    • Says you……
      There are plenty of people who don’t fit the “average” perception of size who are a damn sight healthier and fitter than the skinny ones…..

    • I so agree with you Ruth. Also by what right does anybody have to be feel they can comment on another person without knowing said person? I was raised with “if you can’t say anything nice then don’t say anything”

    • Very true Ruth. There are lots of supposedly overweight people out there who are fitter than some of the skinnier versions. The bloke who pioneered jogging died at age 35 and yet was supposed to be “slim and healthy”. My sister is 83 soon and has always been overweight, (size 22) but has never been ill in her life.

    • Jayne you shouldn’t judge so harshly as some people have medical reasons for being large and there is nothing they can do to change things even if they excercise all day it is not wise to judge others

  6. I have also been this woman all my life & have been a slave to my thoughts about my body. I have just had a hip replacement and with recovery beside thankfulness I can move without Arthritic pain is a wish just to eat healthily – stop dieting & just take care of me – something I have never done before.

    1 REPLY
  7. Some people are still under the misapprehension that being over weight ( not obese ) is endemic to I’ll health. This is not always the case. You can be over weight and still be healthy.

    1 REPLY
    • I hope Grace Boland read this. What a party pooper. Here is this woman feeling good about herself and she, Grace tries to take her down. Go back and read the article with your eyes open and your negativity in check .

  8. Always be happy with what you have it does’nt matter what you look like on the outside it’s what’s in your heart that your personality shines through.

  9. Very inspiring. I too have struggled with my weight all my life and at 65 it seems that the struggle still goes on. I am slowly coming around to the realisation that it doesn’t matter but after a lifetime of self consciousness it is a slow process. Thank you and best wishes.

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